CHARLESTON — A Putnam County circuit judge on Thursday handed down the maximum possible sentence for a man who ran over another man, killing him in 2018.
Judge Joseph Reeder sentenced Morgan Creed Vandergriff to spend 40 years in prison.
A jury convicted Vandergriff of second-degree murder during a four-day trial in August.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Scragg Karr and Vandergriff’s defense attorneys all agreed Vandergriff struck 38-year-old John Maynard with his 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier at about 3:45 p.m. May 9, 2018.
Vandergirff’s attorneys, Brian Escue and Carl Holster, said Vandergriff accidentally struck Maynard after Maynard threw a beer at Vandergriff’s car, causing him to lose control of his vehicle.
Karr said Vandergriff struck Maynard with his car after Maynard yelled at him for driving past two stopped school buses in Ranch Lake Estates in Scott Depot, West Virginia.
Witnesses reported to police that Vandergriff illegally drove around two school buses and drove his car to the right side of the road and struck Maynard, pushing him 20 feet away from where he had been standing, according to the criminal complaint filed in Putnam Magistrate Court.
One of Maynard’s neighbors testified that she saw Maynard almost “do a cartwheel” when the vehicle struck him. He was declared dead at the scene.
Neighbors also testified they did not see Maynard throw a beer at Vandergriff’s vehicle.
Vandergriff remained in the area near the scene, and a Putnam County Sheriff’s deputy took him into custody that evening.